Best Charcoal BBQ 2020

We reviewed dozens of Charcoal BBQs and listed the best options for you in 2020
By Jen Hammond
In This Review
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    Once good weather rolls around, it’s hardly surprising that people will want to start setting up a BBQ or two in their back gardens! There’s nothing quite like a charcoal BBQ or barbecue system for getting the best out of your meat and veg. While some people prefer gas BBQs for various reasons, there are plenty of great reasons why charcoal barbecues are likely to appeal to the masses.

    But what makes for some of the best charcoal BBQs on the market? What should you be looking for from the best charcoal grills for your garden? Should you be looking for stainless steel construction, ease of use and a smart temperature gauge? In many cases, all of the above should fit the bill. Whether fitted with a warming rack or an extra-large cooking area, the best charcoal barbecue for you should endure summer after summer of great garden parties and tasty food.

    In this guide, we’re going to help you look for charcoal grill and BBQ systems worth investing in. Take a good look through our choices and take on our tips, too, to ensure you find the best fit for you and your family.

    Looking for the Best Charcoal BBQ?

    Looking for a great charcoal barbecue can sometimes be a hassle. It’s tempting to think that, in 2020, we should all be using charcoal BBQ systems for ease and cost-effectiveness. However, ask anyone with access to charcoal grill systems or multiple grills, and you will soon find that saving up for a durable, long-lasting family BBQ grill is likely to be worth the money and the effort.

    We’ve gone to serious effort looking to the best charcoal barbecues available for you to buy online. We’ve considered all manner of features, factors and usability notes which we feel will impact your shopping experience. here are just a few areas we’ve looked into when shopping around.

    Brand Appeal

    It doesn’t always stand to reason that you should look for the brand of grill or charcoal BBQ grill first. However, with a solid and reliable manufacturer, you can at least be sure that you are getting a great quality cooking area and charcoal BBQ innovation. For this reason, keep an eye out for brands and makes you’ve heard of.

    We’ll cover this in a bit more detail later on – but we wanted to make sure to look for the best charcoal barbecues from a wide variety of makes and manufacturers. It was the only way we were ever going to offer you a fair spread!

    User Reviews

    We took user reviews and aggregations into account when looking for the best charcoal barbecue on the market, and you should, too. Many people offering many ratings is a good thing – but we wanted to see if there were any products which were overwhelmingly supported. Luckily, there are lots of five-star charcoal BBQs out there!

    Therefore, don’t just take our reviews of the following charcoal grill systems as red. These grill systems and BBQs are well-loved and very popular across the UK. What’s more, other experts agree with us – it’s well worth turning up the heat on these grill units.

    Unique Appeal

    What is it that makes this particular BBQ or grill appealing above all others? What does it offer to the average grill user that’s so different and new? Is it side shelves, a speedy charcoal grill, or is it just easy to clean? Maybe it’s an innovative cooking space or cooking area.

    From modern air vents to great-looking grill inserts, we wanted to list charcoal BBQ options which give you something unique – in a positive way, of course! As you’ll soon see, each grill we pick for this list has something unique and interesting about it. Regardless of how you get cooking, these BBQ grill options are likely to stand out from the pack.

    Why Buy a Charcoal BBQ?

    There are plenty of reasons why a charcoal BBQ might appeal to you. We’re going to explore why a charcoal grill might be a better choice for you over gas grills a little further down in our guide, but for now, let’s focus on why a BBQ charcoal grill might be worth your money and interest outright.

    A charcoal BBQ is likely to give you an intensely smokey flavour to your cooking. It is arguably this which helps to sell charcoal grill systems more than any other feature. However, that said, some people prefer the flavour in gas cooking instead.

    The food you cook through a charcoal grill is entirely your choice – but it’s food that will likely taste woody and smokey in equal measure. That’s a good thing! Many people see this as an authentic way of serving food in the summer, and in many ways, we have to agree.

    Beyond this, a charcoal BBQ grill is likely to be very easy to move around and manage. When you are looking to store your grill or barbecue away for the winter, it should be easy enough for you to wheel your system into safe covering without much issue. Beyond this, you may also find that a charcoal barbecue grill simply looks the part – you can buy a kettle bbq grill, or a sizable grill with a big cooking area for four people or more. The choice is yours.

    Ultimately, people seem to like cooking food on a charcoal barbecue grill for the flexibility, the unique flavour, and for the sheer ease of use. These are all great reasons to turn the heat up and tuck in.

    Charcoal BBQs: Our Top Picks

    It’s time to consider one, two – or maybe ten – of our best picks for the top charcoal barbecue grill in 2020. Make sure you read the full list, whether you want to know more about charcoal cooking, or are yet to be fully persuaded into the charcoal game. The following cooking essentials will help you grill up great-tasting food at a temperature you can rely on for years to come.

    Best Charcoal BBQ 2020

    1.
    Weber Bar-B-Kettle GBS

    Weber Bar-B-Kettle GBS

    Best Kettle BBQ

    When shopping around for the best charcoal barbecue, you will likely find that there are plenty of neat little systems with a lid and easy wheels for you to trundle your cooking around. These are kettle barbecues, and they tend to be a great option for smaller groups, families and couples. This Weber system is likely to appeal to anyone looking for even cooking from a grill that is small and easy to manage.
    This ‘gourmet’ 47cm charcoal barbecue grill is likely to be a great choice if you are looking for ceramic lining and a heat-protective lid. Easily lock in the heat and keep your fingers safe from the rising temperature. It’s very easy to use on the whole, with a handy ash catcher to help keep your gardens – and lungs – free from the afterburn. What’s more, this charcoal BBQ’s lid also has a sturdy hinge, meaning it’s easy to lock down and put away when not in use. generally, it just looks the part.

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    Features

    • Dimensions: 47 x 58 x 91cm
    • Weight: 13KG
    • Kettle

    Reasons to Buy

    • A great-looking kettle barbecue that's neat and easy to clean
    • Ash catching tray allows for healthy cooking and breathing
    • Very easy to move around
    • Great for beginners

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Some may find the build quality to be inferior to other products

    2.
    Landmann Tennessee Broiler Drum

    Landmann Tennessee Broiler Drum

    Best Drum BBQ

    As you can see, there are many great ways to get your cooking up to temperature with charcoal! This impressive grill system lets you serve up your meat and vegetables with a drum build, meaning that it has the feel of a genuine all-American BBQ system. Landmann is a solid brand, too, meaning that you really can’t go far wrong.
    Offering a huge cooking surface, this drum barbecue will allow you to get cooking with charcoal for up to 12 people at once. Therefore, it’s likely to be a great pick for anyone hosting large parties or who may be inviting friends and family over regularly. It comes with a built-in thermometer, a warming rack, and an extendable side shelf to give you even more elbow room.

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    Features

    • Dimensions: 1140 x 1160 x 630cm
    • Weight: 27kg
    • Type: Drum

    Reasons to Buy

    • A huge grill system - grill and serve for up to twelve people
    • One of the best-looking grills on the market
    • Easy to get up to the perfect temperature with a built-in checker
    • Absolutely packed with features, warming racks and extensions

    Reasons to Avoid

    • May be fairly expensive for up to two people
    • May be fairly expensive for up to two people

    3.
    Landmann Pedestal Square

    Landmann Pedestal Square

    Best Square BBQ

    Looking for a charcoal BBQ system with a bit of a different aesthetic? Sticking with Landmann, this great-looking charcoal grill is easy to work at with a cooking area big enough to heat up for six diners. The neat square is easy to use and clean, and the unit’s sheen and shine will look great as part of any modern outdoor kitchen or contemporary patio.
    Looks aside, you may wish to invest in this grill for the wind shield, or for the ash catcher – meaning that, again, it’s a grill which will protect you from menacing ash flying around every which way. You also have access to an adjustable unit, meaning that you can tweak and customise it to your needs as much as you wish. It’s definitely amongst the most flexible barbecues around, and it’s likely to be one of the most visually striking, too!

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    Features

    • Dimensions: 96 x 66 x 52cm
    • Weight: 1.5kg
    • Type: Square

    Reasons to Buy

    • Great-looking charcoal BBQ with unique visual appeal
    • Very easy to adjust to your own needs
    • Comes with wind shield and ash catcher for added protection
    • Reasonably priced

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Maybe not the best look for all buyers
    • Other barbecues can cook for one or two people more

    4.
    CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker

    CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker

    Best Value XL Grill

    Looking to save a bit of money on your charcoal BBQ? CosmoGrill likely has a good option for you to consider here, with a huge cooking area to help you serve up stacks of food at piping temperature. The built-in thermometer on board will help to keep food warm while cooking, and what’s more, you can use it with charcoal briquettes and wood alike.
    What’s impressive about this charcoal grill isn’t just the fact that it comes with a handy warming plate, but the fact it boasts you can cook a whole chicken with ease. What more could you possibly want from BBQ cooking in 2020? Set the perfect cooking temperature and serve food to multiple people without fear of missing anyone out. It’s one of several BBQ grills in our list to offer a large cooking area alongside great heat control.

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    Features

    • Dimensions: 124 x 66 x 114cm
    • Weight: 28.1kg
    • Type: Smoker

    Reasons to Buy

    • Large cooking area to help you serve up to plenty of people
    • Warming grill to help keep your food warm
    • Very easy to use
    • Securing lid and durable body

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Might be too awkward a shape for some

    5.
    George Foreman Portable Kettle

    George Foreman Portable Kettle

    Best Portable Charcoal Grill

    George Foreman is a name most people will probably either associate with indoor grills or boxing at the very least, however, his name has extended to the charcoal BBQ grill market, too. This is likely to be one of the easiest BBQs in its line to move around and handle, meaning that if you are looking for a charcoal barbecue grill with more than just a generous cooking surface, you’ll do well to pick up this neat, handy little cooking system.
    It’s one of the best BBQ grill systems in our list for withstanding high temperature, meaning that it’s likely to cook up some food to a seriously tender grill. Keep in the heat with a secure lid, and add a little bit of sleek, modern cooking to your patio. Yes – there are fancier-looking BBQ systems out there, but this one really does look the part in a series of neutral spaces.

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    Features

    • Dimensions: 88 x 60 x 51cm
    • Weight: 7kg
    • Type: Kettle

    Reasons to Buy

    • Super-portable and very easy to move around
    • Great looking grill with a sturdy lid
    • Solid brand and recognisable manufacturer
    • Generous cooking surface for the size

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Doesn't offer any added bonuses or extras such as a warming grill or side shelves

    6.
    CosmoGrill XXL Outdoor Smoker

    CosmoGrill XXL Outdoor Smoker

    Best Value XXL Grill

    Seeing double? Maybe not. We’ve already looked at one of the best charcoal grills from CosmoGrill, and this system just ups the ante in size. Just as functional and easy to manage as its XL cousin, this super-size outdoor grill system is likely to appeal to anyone looking to serve food to big parties and families. Regardless of the temperature you need, this system is sure to kick up the heat whenever you need it to.
    Benefit from a huge cooking space and temperature control – meaning that you can always ensure that everything is cooking through as it should be. Crucially, it’s fairly similar to the XL variant – but with much more room for you to cook food on! Worth looking into for the price, too.

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    Features

    • Dimensions: 146 x 46 x 113cm
    • Type: Smoker

    Reasons to Buy

    • Loads of space to start cooking food
    • Easy to clean and maintain
    • Smart temperature gauge will help you keep things warm
    • More portable than it looks

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Even bulkier than the XL - make plenty of space!

    7.
    Weber Compact 47cm Kettle

    Weber Compact 47cm Kettle

    Best Compact Charcoal Kettle

    We’ve already looked at a compact kettle BBQ from Weber, and it’s time to consider an alternative option. This neat, small option likely give you more cooking power and flavour per bite than you might expect! It’s very quick at cooking up even the thickest of meats, meaning that if you are looking to serve food to more than one or two people, you will likely find this to be a reliable choice.
    This grill system has a nice, neat lid, and even better, it’s really easy to clean. It’s one of the most convenient BBQ grills on our list for maintenance, and while it might not have the fancy temperature features of some of the other models on this list, we think it’s still worthy of a look.

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    Features

    • Dimensions: 53 x 54 x 88cm
    • Weight: 9.2kg
    • Type: Kettle

    Reasons to Buy

    • Really easy to move around and position in your garden
    • Nice and compact
    • Cooks food up really quickly
    • One of the easiest BBQ grills to clean

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Made from plastic - not the sturdiest build
    • Might not offer enough space

    8.
    TecTake BBQ Charcoal Smoker

    TecTake BBQ Charcoal Smoker

    Best Compact Smoker

    It’s time to take a look at another smoker – and while the TecTake brand might not be familiar to everyone, this fantastic grill is certainly a solid pick from our list. This is one of three models in the same line, and while it is the smallest of the trio, it should still offer you plenty of room to start cooking for one or two people. It benefits from a built-in temperature control for ease of even cooking, and what’s more, it is one of the easiest grills to heat up.
    It’s likely to be a good choice for value, too. We would recommend looking at the larger or multifunction versions if you’d like a little more in the way of cooking finesse, but as things go, this grill is likely to serve you very well indeed.

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    Features

    • Dimensions: 123 x 85 x 48cm
    • Weight: 13kg
    • Type: Smoker

    Reasons to Buy

    • Very compact and easy to move around
    • Enough space for two or more guests' food
    • One of the best charcoal BBQs for look - a classic style
    • Reasonably priced

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Might not appeal to those looking for a more advanced experience

    9.
    Clas Ohlson Charcoal BBQ

    Clas Ohlson Charcoal BBQ

    Best Durable BBQ

    The classic look of this brilliant barbecue is still going to turn plenty of heads in 2020. This Clas Ohlson model is also likely to be one of the most robust and durable BBQs in its line, offering a protective coating and sturdy shell to ensure it withstands years of wear and tear. However, make sure to treat your BBQ with plenty of respect! It’s going to withstand scratch after scratch.
    What’s also great about this grill is the fact that it comes with air vents so that you can easily control the temperature. It is always easy for you to tell if your food is coming up to heat or not. It’s one of a few grills on our list which may earn you brownie points for precision cooking, too. Throw in a corrosion-proof cooking grates system, and you have a grill that’s going to withstand pretty much everything you throw at it.

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    Features

    • Weight: 14.7kg
    • Type: Kettle

    Reasons to Buy

    • Looks great - a genuine classic look with a solid lid
    • Scratch-proof and corrosion resistant
    • Very easy to move around and handle
    • Built-in temperature control will help you keep the heat on

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Maybe not the biggest BBQ for the parties you'd like to host

    10.
    Grill Chef 11510 Broiler XXL

    Grill Chef 11510 Broiler XXL

    Best Premium Grill

    Last but not least, this huge BBQ will likely appeal to anyone looking to start cooking for multiple people. It’s a top pick for 2020 in that it comes with two side tables which you can fold up and down as you wish. It’s easy to heat food up while you are actively cooking through the majority of meat and veg on the main plates, too.
    It’s a great all-in-one unit. There is a bottle opener built-in, as well as an ash catcher, which, again, is a real asset if you want to keep your cooking area nice and clean! You’ll be able to check the temperature clearly in the lid, too, meaning that it should never be too hard for you to monitor the heat of your food.

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    Features

    • Dimensions: 110 x 155 x 67cm
    • Material: Steel and Ceramic
    • Type: Broiler

    Reasons to Buy

    • Lots of space to cook food on - great for big families and parties
    • Two folding tables are nice and useful
    • Very easy to keep check on your temperature through the lid

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Can take a fair amount of time to set up and start
    • It's massive - make plenty of space!

    Things to Look For When Buying Charcoal BBQs

    Of course, as you can imagine, there are always going to be one or two things you should look for when buying charcoal BBQs online. If you’ve taken a good look through our list of products above, you may already have a good idea of what is likely to work best for you. If not, don’t worry – as we’re about to break it down even further for you. Here are a few essential things to look for when comparing and contrasting the best BBQs for your food – and when you choose charcoal.

    Wood or Briquettes?

    There isn’t much to tell between using wood or charcoal briquettes for BBQs, however, some systems will use one or the other. The best will allow you to use both – however, the choice you make may well revolve around price and availability. Take a look around and see what’s likely to appeal to you in the long run.

    Temperature Management

    The best in charcoal BBQs will let you easily check and monitor the heat and temperature of your food. In many cases, there may be a gauge built into the lid. Or, you might be able to check this from below, or from the side. The choice is yours! Essentially, to get the best tasting food, you are going to make heat checks a priority.

    Durability and Build

    Of course, the most reliable BBQ systems are those which will last longer than just 2020. That’s why you should look for two things – the durability of your lid and unit, and protective coating. Some of the BBQ systems we list here have special anti-scratch coating and anti-corrosion measures put in place. Essentially, you should really be looking for grills that offer more than a cheap plastic shell. Stainless steel, for example, is always worth a closer look.

    Portability

    This isn’t a given, as some people will prefer to cook their food on a standalone unit. However, for big gardens and social gatherings, it might be worth you investing in a grill that you can easily wheel around from place to place without fuss. You should certainly look carefully at the weight and dimensions of your BBQ, too, as this will allow you to gauge how easy it’s going to be to move around on the sly.

    Added Space

    Of course, if you want to start cooking for more than two people, you should look for a system with multiple cooking grates, or with a surface area which really opens up the food preparation potential. Whether you buy a BBQ in stainless steel or resistant plastic, there is nothing quite like having a bit more elbow room to work with.

    Food Quality Enhancement

    There are also plenty of BBQs and grills out there which help to enhance the precision of your cooking. If keeping your cooking temperature in check is proving to be a struggle, then you should probably invest in something as simple as air vents – which let you control the heat. Or, if you prefer, a warming rack is just as likely to help keep things ticking over.

    Back to Brand Appeal

    Once again, brand appeal – does it matter? Whether you are looking at a portable George Foreman or a Heston Blumenthal stainless steel BBQ, there are pros and cons to all the best units out there. Just as an FYI – there aren’t any Heston Blumenthal grills on our 2020 list, but who knows – 2021 might be his year!

    Look for BBQs and grills which offer you the features and flexibility you demand, not just the pricing and the brand. If there’s a Heston Blumenthal grill out there that really does it for you – then perfect!

    Is Charcoal Better Than Gas?

    That’s the million-pound question. Rather boringly, we are going to suggest that you can get great-tasting food out of both options!

    Charcoal is likely to appeal to those BBQ lovers who really want to experience that classic, smokey flavour. There’s nothing to say that gas barbecues won’t produce great-tasting food, but do make sure to take a look at the pros and cons of both options.

    Why Choose Charcoal?

    Charcoal, as we’ve established, produces great-tasting meat and veg. Beyond that, charcoal BBQs tend to be a bit more varied in style and shape. As you can see from this list alone, there are some which are built in a kettle style, while others offer a full broiler or drum. Some are built in stainless steel, while others benefit from simpler manufacture.

    Beyond this, charcoal might work out cheaper, in many ways. Rather than having to fork out for big gas bottles every five minutes, a big bag of briquettes or wood might actually be cheaper to come by in the long haul. There’s also the matter of safety, too. Not everyone feels safe cooking with gas, meaning that charcoal will likely be an obvious alternative.

    Charcoal BBQ Drawbacks

    However, there are a few drawbacks to using a charcoal grill, too. For example, it’s not likely to offer you the same precision cooking you might expect from two or more gas burners. Therefore, while your food might taste lovely and smokey, there is always going to be that risk that your cooking is going to be a little harder to manage. While plenty of charcoal grills have temperature gauges and controls to help you manage this, it doesn’t always follow that these grills are as easy to use as gas burners.

    Beyond this, be prepared to start cleaning, too. Charcoal BBQ systems demand a fair amount of cleaning from time to time, and unless your system has an ash collector or tray, you’re at risk of nasty black stuff clogging things up. That’s why we have gone to the effort of finding the best BBQs which offer you plenty of ease in cleaning and maintenance along the way.

    You have to take the rough with the smooth, ultimately!

    Is a Gas Barbecue Worth It?

    We’re not here to put you off charcoal BBQ systems at all! There are plenty of charcoal grate systems which are well worth the money. As you can see from our list, charcoal barbecuing is perfectly easy to get started with, and there are more than a few cooking grill options which will appeal to the average BBQ fan. family gatherings or otherwise, however, you might prefer to look for a gas BBQ over a charcoal model for a handful of reasons.

    Gas BBQs tend to be good options if you really want to get precision cooking down to a fine art. One of the big selling point areas of a gas barbecue lies in the fact that they are pretty easy to set up and clean, too. However, that’s not to say there aren’t charcoal systems with clear assembly instructions.

    A gas barbecue is likely to be a good spot for someone who really values precision cooking, and who doesn’t mind putting a bit more money into the pot. That said, gas barbecues tend to be heavier and harder to fit in, and what’s more, you’re going to need to clean up all the useless fat that grills away afterwards. A charcoal pan, therefore, might be a more efficient choice in the long run.

    It’s a balance you have to consider carefully! What’s right for you – a big, feature-heavy BBQ that’s hard to clean, or an efficient, cost-effective system which might be a little tricky to put together? There are pros and cons on either side, and it’s worth checking these ins and outs before you put any money down. Trust us – this is an investment which should last you many summers to come.

    Conclusion

    As you can see, there really is a lot to think about when it comes to buying a charcoal grid or two. The fact is, a charcoal barbecue is going to produce some great-tasting food. Cooking in this way can take a bit of time to get used to, but there’s lots of benefits to setting up this style of barbecue in the long run. A gas option or burner might do the business for you if you are really hot on your precision, but for that eclectic, smokey flavour, you really aren’t going to do better than burning up some wood or coal.

    Our buyer’s guide takes into account some of the best charcoal systems money can buy this year. We’ve made sure to line up some choices which will appeal to casual cookers as well as those who have spent years grilling up a storm. You might already know what you are looking for from the best in charcoal tech. However, if not, we hope this guide has given you a bit of an insight into what you can expect.

    Do use our guide as a launchpad for your own online shopping. We want to make sure you go away with a clear idea of what makes for a truly great charcoal-cooked meal. Whether you prefer burgers, hot dogs or chicken legs, or want to grill up corn, tomatoes or veggie burgers, sometimes cooking with wood is likely to be the best route towards flavoursome food. However, if you are still wondering if you should buy a gas bbq you can read our review on the Best Gas Barbecues 2020.

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